While the NBA is on hiatus, the Knicks State of Mind guys dive into some “what ifs” and this week, it’s time to talk about the playoffs.
The New York Knicks are no stranger to playoff heartbreak. Over the last 20 years, the franchise has just one playoff series win under its belt. The Knicks State of Mind podcast looks at what could have been if the team was able to make that two playoff series wins.
The Knicks were supposed to meet LeBron James and the Miami Heat in the 2013 Eastern Conference Finals, but Paul George and the Indiana Pacers would have something to say about that.
Well, actually, George’s coming-out party didn’t happen until his Pacers met the Heat in the next round. In fact, Carmelo Anthony absolutely dominated George throughout the six-game series between the Knicks and Pacers in the 2013 Eastern Conference Semifinals.
Unfortunately for Knicks fans, the rest of the team forgot to show up to this series. After taking care of the Boston Celtics in six games, the Knicks’ supporting cast was nowhere to be found.
J.R. Smith was the biggest culprit. After winning Sixth Man of the Year and putting together the best season of his career, Smith did his best disappearing act in the playoffs. During that Indiana series, Smith was second on the team in scoring (13.5 PPG), but he hit that number with abysmal shooting percentages (.289/.231/.741).
The lack of a supporting cast will always be one of Melo’s downfalls in New York. The toughest part about 2013 was that it finally looked like he had the right pieces around him for a deep run into the playoffs. But again, when J.R. Smith is the second star, that’s a recipe for disaster.
After discussing the Pacers series, the conversation shifts toward the 1999 NBA Finals. The shortened season gave the Knicks a major lift, but it wasn’t enough to overcome an absolutely dominant San Antonio Spurs squad anchored by Tim Duncan and David Robinson.
Of course, the Knicks were without Patrick Ewing, who was on his last legs at that point. Could the series have gone differently with Ewing in the lineup? Maybe. Maybe not.
There are so many “what ifs” that hang over this franchise like a black cloud. The playoff disappointment is only a small part of what’s to come.